Monday, December 08, 2008

Someone asked where he got the rythm from.......

video

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

We few odd ducks get odder still

Alex: I am going to grab some tums when we get home, I have had heart burn all day.

Levi: what happened?

Me: A gnome lit a fire in Dad's aorta.

Levi: What's a gnome?

At which point Alex and I burst into laughter. Only our son would know what an aorta is and yet not know the word gnome.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

My Meloncholy Moody Musings


No matter how you phrase it, or what euphemism you use, death is dang hard. And it seems to be going around our small community these days. It's hard not to feel a bit down. Varying degrees of hurt and sadness have accompanied each new revelation of loss depending how close or distant the relationship. What has followed each, however, is the distinct feeling that something is missing that can never be replaced.

The part that really gets to me is that with each loss comes a bombardment of memories once forgotten. Little things that didn't seem to matter at the time, or important moments that weren't truly acknowledged for their value. It is as though when someone sheds this life as we know it, the moments and memories and love that was shared with them grow a little brighter; become more than they were. I can't decide if I find this incredibly sad or incredibly beautiful, so I'll call it bittersweet.

I say sad because undoubtedly regret follows. Moments lived are, if we are truly honest, never really savored. The seemingly ordinary is far more powerful than we give it credit for. Because of this, we often forget to tell the people who inhabit those moments with us how much they mean to us, or, for that matter, don't even realize the role they play until they are gone. In my limited and immature experience, it is impossible to set out on a mission to try to be certain everyone you care for truly knows how much. I do try to make sure those I love know it, but I certainly have not succeeded in articulating the profoundness of some connections. The hardest part is, there are always those who have simply always been there and so their role is not noticed until it is missing from the script.

However, I also find this brightened, glossy memory of those no longer with us beautiful because the roots of those memories are so deep and so wide and so long that no one who loved well is ever truly lost to those left behind. They remain to remind how far our influence can reach, how connected we all really are, and how the trick to immortality is to love well and indiscriminately.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Accomplishments!






My amazing, talented husband and his friends down at Reimer & Co. Architectural Blacksmiths, had the grand unveiling of their first venture into large scale public art yesterday. Made extra exciting by the fact that this is really a step forward for Cranbrook as well. It's not really known for it's modern thinking. Here are some pictures of the day. As well, there is a picture of Mom and her happy face sunshine shepherd's pie because she didn't believe me when I said I would blog about it, and she is just so gosh darn proud of it. :) P.S. It was also delicious!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Hippies-vegtable or mineral?

So, I'm standing in front of the mirror in the bathroom along with my three daughters as we get dressed up for my lunch work party last Saturday. I am dressed up as a hippy because I happen to have a few things laying around that could be construed as hippy-ish. The conversation goes as follows.....

Alex: Seriously? A hippy? They are are going to ask you why you didn't dress up.

Me: Oh come on, like I would ever thread beads in my hair, wear six necklaces at once, or a scarf on my head.

Hannah: Mommy, is a hippy an animal?

Alex: (straight faced) It depends on who you ask.

So after all this bathroom hilarity, I drive Levi to a birthday party before taking the girls to my work party. Birthday boy's dad gives me an awfully funny look. Later, when I go to pick Levi up the dad says, "You are looking even more flower-childish than usual today."

It is so irritating when Alex is right.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I love the taste of music in the morning!

I counted. The Marriott's, in total, spend 9. 5 hours a week doing music related activities. Soon it will be 10.5 because of the new class starting up next week. These hours do not include home practice or potluck infused jamming.

During the last two months, I have seen the vast differences in how people and music co-exsist. Alex has been discovering that the gift he has exercised with his fingers dancing over strings can extend to his voice. My husband, who at first had to be convinced to take music classes, has actually been displaying signs of excitement over his discoveries there.

For Levi, music is the medium that combines his analytical nature with his creative self. He loves the predictable mathematical system that leaves room for his imagination to stretch. He will plunk out a song he knows until he gets it just right and then he will continue on with his own verse. What a perfect combination for such an imaginative scientist.

Hannah, as she does in most things, finds joy and carefree fun in her music. Whether she is playing a melody on the piano or singing, whether a song is learned or of her own creation, Hannah's whole countenance brightens. Selah joins Hannah in her enthusiasm but in her case, her whole body shows it. When the music starts playing Selah almost leaps out of her skin to take it in with every limb.

Shiloh is a sharer. Where some might enjoy music just on their own, Shiloh much prefers an audience. She is very expressive and has a message to send. Her voice is her favorite instrument.

The babies in my thursday morning class experience their music with all of their senses, with motion and play and dance and touch. It is my most favorite way to start the day. Tasting melodies with the babies.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The times, they are a changing.....

First, I have to make sure you know that I did already realize that my blog's opening line doesn't work anymore. I really did. And it's not as if I liked changing diapers, they just represent a whole lot of other stuff that goes with the baby thing.

I am just not ready to let go of it yet. Plus, I can't really figure out what stage we are in now with a toddler, a would-be teenager, and two to bridge the gap. The whole parenting thing is a lot more complicated now. What used to preoccupy my mother brain (to give vitamin D drops to the baby or not...) has grown and twisted into questions harder to research and find clear answers for (which natural consequences do I allow to play out and when do I rescue.....). Instead of conversations about exactly what shade of blue the sky is, we are talking about sex, love, and what makes a good friend.

Diapers, baths, late night feedings, slings, and all that other stuff, as chaotic as they seem, are simple. I like simple. So until I am ready to accept the fact that we have moved out of the realm of simple, I am going leave my blog one-liner as it is. Besides, it's sort of true if you count the babies I borrow to get my fix. :)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Autmumn Sky

Has anyone else around here noticed the sky lately? It has been very moody but incredibly gorgeous! The last few days, I have been finding myself fascinated by the incredible vastness of hues and shapes up there. With few colors to work with, it has certainly been amazing to see the variety. Especially in this season of competing color. Unfortunately, all I can do is tell you about my own awe because my camera cannot remotely do justice to what I am talking about. So, until I get a new camera, look up!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Random Marriott updates for all.

Shall we go youngest to oldest? Yes lets.

Selah is speaking more clearly every day. She is also just speaking more period. Like a lot. Almost constantly actually. I tried to explain what quiet was the other day. Um, ya, good luck. She has taken to singing all morning instead of talking. Cute, but problematic, since she doesn't enunciate nearly as well when singing. She has finally stopped crying when we drop Levi off at school and has formed a new mischievous partnership with her big sister Shiloh. She gets so excited about every thing and draws us all into her curiosity.

Shiloh is totally excited to be officially in Kindergarten now, although she is a bit irritated that nobody has noticed and everyone is asking about how Levi is liking school. She is handling this by demanding to do schoolwork all day long and finish early as though she will catch up to Levi. At least she is motivated! She is learning her letters and simple math and is catching on fast. Art is her favorite activity and practicing writing her letters is her least favorite. She loves to dance throughout the day, whether there is music or not. Her enthusiasm for being awake keeps the energy level up all day.

Hannah is, as ever, my ally among the children. She is the motivator when it's time to clean up and rarely complains about schoolwork or housework. She moves around the house with a quiet cheerfulness. She has taken on the role of oldest child in Levi's absence and has settled into it with confidence. I often enter a room to find her reading to her sisters aloud and carefully explaining words they don't understand or pointing out colors and letters that we were working on during our lessons. She is struggling a bit with place values in math but rather than getting discouraged she really knuckles down and does the same question over and over until she gets it right. When she has accomplished something she has been working on, the triumph on her face is priceless. Hannah started as a baby who challenged my desire to be a parent. She was sick a lot and cried often and for long periods of time. Now, though, she has truly grown into the meaning of her name, "a gracious gift."

Levi is really enjoying school for the most part and we have settled into a good rhythm in regards to lunch packing, homework, and generally being prepared. I am quite proud of how self-motivated he is, however his memory is much like his father's. I suppose it's part of the price of living with two slightly eccentric geniuses. He recently came home and told me he was joining the choir. The only problem is that practice is at 8am in the morning. How could I say no? This past week Levi has discovered a bit of the downside of to going to school. It takes much longer to get anything done and kids can be really mean without looking like bullies. We had our first long talk about choosing friends who like you for who you are and not who they want you to be. I told him about how weird Alex was but it gained him incredible friendships that have lasted years. He came home the next day and listed off the friends who like him for himself even if he is a little weird like his dad.

Well, that's pretty much it for the kidlets. Grown-up stories will have to wait, coffee is done!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Yes. I am melodramatic. Suck it up.

I am so affected by everything. Totally and completely. I was sitting at home today and realized that I am sad today. I couldn't figure out why. I LOVE my new job and where my old one is going. I am totally pumped about the new things starting up for us this fall. I am even excited about Levi's progress in school. I am ridiculously in love with my husband and have really delighted in this time with my daughters. Things are really good. Am I getting depressed? No, that's not it. So, why am I sad?

Upon reflection, I realized I'm not sad for me. There has been a lot going on for a lot of the people I love lately. I have administered many a hug these last couple of weeks. Sent up more petitioning prayers than I can count, and soaked up more tears with my t-shirts than I could water my tomato plants with. For a while, I contemplated the fact that I should learn to distance myself. I should figure out how to tame my emotions a bit. But I decided against it.

The thing is, for as sad as I was today, I brim with joy on other days. To see my closest friend birth her child made me weep with much more comfortable tears. A potluck with friends and the intimacy of music makes my heart want to leap right out of my chest. For whatever extremes I experience in the other direction, these ones are worth it. So today hurts. Some days hurt more. I can't fix it, or make it better, no matter how much I care, but I can grieve alongside and bear up with the people around me. The other option I think would be cynicism and, quite frankly, even the sad parts of life are too beautiful to go there.

Friday, September 05, 2008

And now for something completely different....

My friend signed me up for belly dancing classes.........

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Milestones and Moving on

This morning an eager nine year old burst into my room long before I actually needed to be up and thinking clearly to inform me that he didn't know what to put in his lunch. I reminded him that he didn't need a lunch today because it was a half day and I was sure to add how nice he looked all dressed in his new school clothes. I wonder how long he was up before he decided to roust us.....

About every fifteen minutes for the duration of the morning I was reminded about how important it is not to be late for school. I just started making up chores to send my little man off on so I could eat, pee and dress myself in peace. There was also a lot of hugging going on between siblings as if we were sending him off to college. All this for a whole two hours of separation.

Once at school we walked over to the lists posted on the outside window to find out what class Levi was in. He is in a 4/5 split along with some of the friends he was hoping would be in his class. Then he took off running barely bothering to yell behind him, "Bye Mom!" And that, I suppose, is that.

Later, he said they didn't do much except review the school rules and sign a student agreement that basically says he will behave as politely and responsibly at school as he is expected to at home. He also informed me that he would be going to bed early tonight because the teacher suggested that they do. I should get her to suggest a few more things..........

I will post pictures as soon as I can figure out how to get the pictures on the laptop.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

A mini bucket list

I spent the afternoon kayaking amidst lilly pads and raindrops at Jim Smith Lake. My friend Lizz and I have tried to have a few such outdoor adventures this summer. There hasn't been much opportunity since it's been a busy summer and one of us has four children, but we have managed a few days of natur-esk communing.

While shivering in the boat talking about Lizz's personal bucket list, we decided to put together a mini list for the next year and a half. A list of things we will aspire to do before 2010. We used Lizz's current list for ideas and I am sure we will come up with a few of our own. The only rules are that it has to be practical (I won't be going on any very large trip this year) but they have to be things we haven't ever done before. A couple of things already on the list are donate blood, camp on Mt. Fisher, and do an Okanagan wine tour. Me thinks it's going to be an interesting year!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Thank goodness that lazy saturday's haven't gone extinct!

I woke up at work this morning an lept out of bed to meet my mother-in-law for a morning of perusing the Baine's Lake farmers market. It was really fun( and fairly expensive). We enjoyed a good coffee, turkey jerky, and some cherries while we wandered about looking for items we couldn't live without. I scored a really fun skirt that morphs into a whole wardrobe and a funky bracelet that has already doubled as good kid distraction. The conversation was good. We laughed, we got serious, we pretty much caught up after a summer of total busyness. It was awesome. As if this day couldn't get any better.....

I followed up my morning at the market with an afternoon in a good friend's backyard. She is one of those friend's that I can expose all of my crazy me-ness to without fear of offense, judgment, or skepticism. Our conversation lasted for four hours and covered just about every topic you could imagine. We gorged ourselves on shared word-smithing and came out smiling.

I am so appreciative, for all my activity, that there is space in my life for deep, hilarious relationship. Home for the evening, we are heading up to the family plot-o-dirt to dig in and get messy as a group. Good 'ol tribal bonding over fresh veggies and hoses full of water! It just doesn't get better!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Mama is verging on panic!

So, six more days. Six more days until my little man enters gr. four and goes to school for the first time. I have managed to put this day off longer than most. Four years longer. But now my son is going to head off into unknown territory. Hang out with kids I may or may not like. Make decisions his Mom won't be able to congratulate or correct.

Oh, I know it's good for him! Don't lecture me in your head. I am not going to hover. I am not going to spy. And I not going to spend everyday worrying, I can't! There are three other kids here, two of whom are not getting their education outside the house just yet.

It's just that, this happened so fast. I know I rolled my eyes when anyone said, "Oh, Sarah, look at you. You are just growing up so fast." It didn't seem fast. And I can tell Levi doesn't think so either. But time sped up somewhere. What on earth do I do with that? Is it going to get faster?

Am I just crazy, or is there a chance I am not the only Mom going through this on this particular week? I am going to find some chocolate.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Levi's adventurous birthday

It was a great day all around, spent with family and friends. The highlight however, according to Levi was our encounter with law enforcement. The story goes....

We were getting ready to have the families up for dessert and realized we didn't have enough fruit for fruit salad, so we decided to run to the store. Now that we have the scooter we try to use the van as little as possible. Levi wanted to go pick out his own fruit so we thought maybe a good birthday privilege was a ride on the scooter.

We found a suitable helmet and Levi and I headed to the store. Part way there, we hear the oh-so-comforting sound of a siren and pull over. Of course, I am panicking thinking, "Was I speeding? Did I miss a stop sign? And in front of my son! Good job Mom!" He asks for my license and registration, very politely. As I hand it over I ask, "Was I going to fast officer?" His reply was, " Well, you just seemed little and so.......I thought since I pulled you over anyway, I should check you license just in case."

At least he had the good sense to look a little sheepish and Levi was just so interested in the whole event I don't think he noticed that the nice police man was actually pulling us over because he thought we were children out for a joyride.

Happy Birthday Levi!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

YAY!! and ACK!!! all at the same time.

It's official! We are on file at the ministry of children and families as foster parents. They took a family photo and everything. So now we wait. The kids ask almost constantly when a child will be placed with us. We have had some very interesting conversations about why it's not really something we should hope for because it means that there is a little boy or girl who, for whatever reason, can't be with their own parents. Obviously most of our current population doesn't quite get this concept so they continue to ask.

Another interesting conversation was when the social workers came over and asked about my job and I told them it changed. Again. For the umpteenth time since we started this process. They assured me that they don't think I'm flakey anyway.

As for the job thing, I am working one to two nights a week for now and waiting for an interview with another organization where I can have flexible hours. I will be teaching two music classes in the fall and though it's not tons of money, it'll do. All this has the added bonus of being able to parent my own children again. Which is SO nice. Today we barbecued dinner for Daddy, did the dishes and walked to the garden as a family. Quite loverly.

That money thing has always worked itself out before. It will do so again I'm sure. :)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Seattle and Anniversary # 9!

I have spent the last week in Seattle training to be a MusikGarten teacher. Every day at least once my heart just skips a beat with the utter certainty that I have always been supposed to do this. The idea of teaching families (not just children) the value of music to a body, mind, and soul, excites me and fills me with wonder. Being a Dalton, all the world hasn't just been a stage , it's been musical theater. There was always breaking out in to song for every occasion. What I once thought of as weird, I am coming to learn, is actually a huge part of what makes me, well, me. Now I get to share it in such a lovely way. I am SO excited!!

Speaking of breaking out into song, it wasn't so very long ago that my new husband stared at me blankly and asked me why on earth I kept randomly singing. Since then he has learned the whys behind that and so many other Daltonly quirks that have popped up. I have discovered the background to his many little quirks as well and fallen more in love with him for the learning.

A few nights before I left, we were laying in bed talking about life and all it's little fun moments. After a particularly sweet discussion, I leaned over and said, "I am still madly in love with you." "Thanks," he said. I waited. Then I said, "You are supposed to tell me how madly in love with me you are too!" His reply was, "I didn't know there was a script!" "You have been married to me too many years to not know there is a script!!" Without missing a beat, my dear, sweet, hilarious husband hollers, "Line!" And we both burst into fits of laughter rolling on the bed.

Damn I love that man!! Happy anniversary honey! I totally miss you and can't wait to see you!!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Into every life, a few weirdos must fall...

That's what the pastor at church said this morning during a sermon on mercy. At the time all I could think was, "you have no idea....." Little did I know that later on this very day my dear sister and her hubby would visit and prove our pastors theory.

I was going to blog about the tickle camel and the kid's enjoyment of him but as I sat at the computer next to my dosing brother-in-law, my sister snuck up on him. Carefully lifting the bottom of his shirt, she has woken him with a zerbert to the belly. Lifting his head suddenly, he squealed, "what are you doing, where's the brie?" It's all about priorities.....

Meanwhile the batteries in the camera are dead so tickle camel pictures will have to wait until tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

so .....ok then

new van. suddenly, cleanly broken axle. S'ok, fixed by a friend. Mechanic friend is beginning to believe that vans really are repulsed by us. Whatever. It runs now. And honestly at this point, if we get stuck somewhere while on vacation this summer, I don't think it will hurt my feelings to have an excuse to not come back to work for a little while longer.

In other news, I have new wine glasses, and pretty new blackberry wine. So....Yum!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Dear Dad

Yesterday was a crazy roller coaster and so I am a day late but here it is.

What she said and.....

"As long as one and one make two, there has never been a daughter loved her Father more than I love you"

I am so appreciative that even when we stubborn two were butting heads during my hormonal years, if there was a banquet, or a mania, or a perry creek party, I could still dance with my Daddy. Watching you dance with my daughter this year was priceless.
video

Although I must say, this is the only time I can remember that your dance partner's style was more eccentric than your own.

I love you!!

Friday, June 13, 2008

I AM the little engine that could. I think.

  • I made turkey/chicken soup first thing this morning.
  • My phone rang a total of eight times before I left the house at 9:30 with six kids to run errands and visit the animals at Top Crop.
  • All my daughters have pigtails today. That may not seem like a big deal to anyone who doesn't have three daughters under the age of 8, but it is. Trust me.
  • Juggle cell phone calls regarding babysitters during work next week and switching shifts so I can have one day off this week.
  • Home for a good wholesome lunch after dropping Levi off at the school at 12:00.
  • Clean up and laundry. Sort recycling. Wrap Alexanders gift.
  • Blog!
  • Get Hannah working on her schoolwork. Out again by 2:00
  • Drop off schoolwork and books at the other school.
  • Drop off recycling.
  • Drop off Shiloh at the birthday party. Pick up Levi.
  • Off to the eye Dr. for Levi
  • Back home again for good wholesome dinner. Pick up Shiloh.
  • Kiss husband. Soundly. Twice at least.
  • Start dishwasher and laundry.
  • Off to work.

As I am typing this I am only on the first load of laundry on the list. It appears I am going to need a little more coffee.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wet and wild

It has been bucketing rain for what has come to feel like weeks. It has confirmed that the coast is simply not ever going to be an option for habitation. I would go nuts. There is mud in the entrance way that just comes back within hours of my cleaning it up, I can't weed my garden or cut my grass, and yesterday was spent sucking up water and drying out the carpet downstairs because someone knocked the bottom off one of the gutter drains again. I am so ready for sunshine.

In other news, I was honored to be witness to the birth of Micah Thomas Stevenson on Saturday evening. He was born right between a celebration at Mayook and the Luminary service at Relay-for-life, Beth and I were playing at. So far he is behaving just as convenient as his birth. He eats and sleeps well, is not overly fussy, and he is beautiful. Fresh baby makes everything more bearable, including flooded basements.

We also have a new van so I don't have to worry about being stranded with 6 or 7 kids downtown when the old van decided no amount of coaxing will get it going again. I will miss the seats in the middle that can turn around but the trade is that we now have sliding doors on either side and auto start button. Plus, it's green!

Well, I think that's it. Why do I feel like there is more going on? Nope. That's it. Have a nice day!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Tonight

Beth and I are going to folk-out at the Kimberly relay-for-life tonight, so I got all gussied up for the occasion. I even put on make-up! As I sat down to check my email, Selah hops up on my lap and stares at me concerned.

"Mama?"
"Yes, Selah?"
"You ate the paint?"

This tells you how often I wear lipstick. If I was one of those "well-put-together" ladies, my Saturday afternoon wouldn't have induced nearly as much laughter. Cheers to us granola girls!

Monday, June 02, 2008

side-note

The eyebrow waxing was a totally spontaneous, bizarre lapse in judgment that never made it to my toes. As I said, I am better now and everything will grow back. Besides, it's just like playing dress-up. I like dress-up. :P

In a nutshell

This week in reader's digest version.....

Job's changing again, just not sure exactly how.

Had extra kids all week. For two days in a row we had Kensi (3) and Dallin (9? mnths). On day one, I brought Dallin to the baby music class I teach on Thursday mornings. What a riot! On day two, we all went to the trout hatchery with the other local homeschooling families. Um, yea...anyway....

My beautiful, round-bellied friend, Barb brought me to meet the new midwife who is working with Jane. She was lovely and I look forward to working with her, if not with Barb, in the future with another Mother.

Saturday morning Mom and Dad took the kids to a parade while Alex and I had a date that began with a picnic and checking out the garage sales and ending in a bizarre lapse of sanity on my part. I chopped all my hair off (Lizz did a beautiful job), bought make-up, and let someone wax my eyebrows. (??#??#??#) She told me how updated I look now. All I could think was, "You can't update me, I'm twenty-six, I'm new!" I'm better now and am just glad I didn't do anything more permanent like get piercings or a tattoo. God help me when I turn forty.

What brought on the neurotic episode is the fact that my baby turned three yesterday marking my official exit from the land of babies and toddlers. I know most people are thinking I should be relieved, but I walked out of high school and gave birth. This is a very different experience. I am really just not sure what the heck to do with it. Anyway, the birthday party was fun and Selah got some very cool instruments from the Grandparents and honorary Grandma.

After the party, the day went completely sideways and though blog-worthy, it will have to wait until I have time to post again.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Odds and sods of Spring






video

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The day after

News vans, satellites, clean-up crews and random spectators are everywhere as I step outside my door. I tried to garden, watch "Rupert" with the kids, eat a pizza picnic in the backyard. Normal, everyday things. Things that remind you that life keeps ticking away no matter the circumstance.

Though I go through the motions, my mind returns constantly to a friend of mine who is now mourning the loss of a family member. It has vividly brought back the feeling I had in the first weeks after Dooger died. That desperate need to scream at the universe, "Take it back!!!" Trying to figure out how to claw back the hands of the clock to a place in time when you could change the course of history.

Now, mingled with the news regurgitating everything about the Sullivan mine accident two years ago tomorrow, there is news of this new tragedy. New people whose absence this community must adjust to. New people whose stories will be told over and over in the coming months through tears and laughter.

So again, as two years ago, I am reminded that the only day we were promised was yesterday. With my beautiful munchkins beside me I am going to put some more green things in the ground and let the sunshine wash away some of this weary feeling.

Last night a friend shared a song with me that was perfection in that moment.
The last verse goes like this....

It all seems so obvious now
When I look back over my life
There's a need for sorrow and doubt
For darkness and for light
It's how it must be

All in good time.....
The bad time will be gone

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

May 13, 2008

Approximately two hours ago, four people died tragically in a helicopter accident at the bottom of our alley. We were sitting at our window when we noticed the low flying aircraft above the houses across the street. The men inside appeared to be looking for something as the helicopter swayed from side to side. Moments later we heard the crash and saw the smoke.

We rushed outside to find the alley engulfed in thick black smoke. We thought the house on the corner was on fire. As the smoke cleared we stood helpless while a body lay in flames in the street. We could not go any closer to try and help because of the ignited fuel on the ground and the popping sounds still coming from the wreckage.

Now, as I watch the spectators congregating outside our windows, I am repulsed by the gawking. People taking pictures with their cell-phones and camera's. Teenagers laughing and pushing each other around. The looks on people's faces make it seem as if they are at a carnival; as though they aren't at the site of a tragedy. As though four lives didn't just end in all this entertainment. As though there aren't four bodies of people who were loved laying underneath those tarps.

I find myself offering up a prayer not just for the victims and their families but also for the people walking down my street. I pray that they may be touched by the deep sorrow of what has happened here. I am not sure how I feel about being part of a society whose curiosity is capable of outweighing their compassion.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mommy, Madre, Mama, Mammy, Mutter

Tomorrow will be my 9th Mother's day (if you count the pregnant one) as one of the honored guests. My house daily overflows with kids and their laughter and tantrums alike. And I love it! And I am regularly seized with excitement mingled with terror as we ride this wild roller coaster of parenting.

Even on the days that I am longing for a vacation, I am filled with gratitude. I won't tell them until they are ready to move out (for fear that it may go to their heads) but these small people inhabiting my home are the not the only students of life lessons here. Even as I instruct, and console, and mend, and kiss, and wait, and breathe, and count to ten, I am struck by the knowledge that these "teachable moments" are as much for me as for them. There are so many revelations to be unwrapped in the words and through the eyes of children.

I have learned that patience takes practice for everyone, no matter how many years you have lived.
I have learned that ants, blades of grass, wind, moving water, and human body are creations deserving of observation.
I have learned that even something as common as the birth of another baby can hold the status of miracle.
I have learned that crayon can be washed out of a dryer with WD-40 and time.
I have learned that potty-training comes in it's own time despite singing potties, color changing pull-ups, and cool books about peeing.
I have learned that the very best, meticulously made plans just aren't worth anything when the latest favorite teddy is lost.
I have learned that love has no boundaries. None. It can go everywhere.
I have learned that little boys are born thinking little girls have penis envy. That one is definitely nature rather than nurture.
I have learned that even though scraped knees hurt, they are crucial to the process of learning to ride a bike and the even more difficult lesson is that heartbreaks are crucial to learning the lessons of friendship, self-worth, and compassion.

I am still learning how to let go and trust other people not to damage the children I love so deeply.
I am still learning how not to come to the rescue all the time.
I am still learning how very not in control of anything I really am.
I am still learning that sometimes resistance is futile.
I am learning that Motherhood belongs to anybody who chooses to nurture, lift up, mend, and teach.

And most importantly, I think, I am coming to understand why God doesn't always come to my rescue just when and how I ask. Yet, just as I am waiting to embrace my children after a particularly difficult lesson or applaud them when they accomplish something that seemed impossible to them before, I know my Abba is there.

There are so very many lessons yet to come on this ever evolving journey and I hope I remember to slow down and pay attention enough to learn them well.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Happy 29th birthday to my very own genius saskwatch!




So, we were at a wedding last year or maybe the year before and Alex's big revelation to the groom was that marriage was like a really long sleepover. It's probably not a comment you're going to read in a Shakespeare romance, but it gave me warm fuzzies all over anyway. Probably the biggest compliment a person could get is that after several years of marriage, their spouse still calls it a sleepover. On one Alex-planned anniversary, we dyed our hair blue. Now that is some sizzling love-life right there. Serious points for originality. He is an amazing Daddy who isn't afraid to change a diaper or kiss a boo-boo. He is also a fabulous teacher, not just to our kids but also to the people around us. He has this way of being downright direct without ever making you feel judged. He is equally passionate about his faith and his pursuit of science. He can bring the two into a harmony I never would have thought possible. He is friendly and warm, gentle and honorable. He is generous and forgiving beyond anyone else I have ever met. He is an artist and a scientist. A skilled tradesman and a poet. A geek and goofball. And above all else, he is hairy. Really really hairy. Our children will have toe hair.

Happy birthday my love!!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Blog therapy

After a very in-depth, emotional conversation with my mother, I have come to the conclusion that my undisciplined toe hair practices are a result of low self-esteem caused by seeing my father wearing pink tights in public. Childhood trauma like that simply cannot be undone by therapy.......

( I should probably clarify that the pink tights were part of a town crier costume for the children's festival. For the record, when you are coming up on adolescence, knowing the purpose of the pink tights does not lessen the impact.)

Meh..

After doing some errands with spring fever afflicted children, I still needed to go to the store but didn't have the motivation. So, to keep myself going, I called a very pregnant friend who just started her maternity leave. Seconds after getting into the vehicle, she comments on my bright yellow socks and tsk's at me for wearing them with sandles. I explained that I do understand, and mostly follow, the no-socks-in-the-sandles fashion rule. The reason for the yellow socks was Selah's music lesson this morning. Toddlers and toe hair don't mix. Now, this answer seems perfectly reasonable to me. However, her reaction was bouts of laughter intermingled with a lecture on tweezers and their usefulness. My reaction, of course, is why the heck would I tweeze my poor toes when I can just apply yellow socks? My way seems far less painful and time-consuming. Besides, what did my toes ever do to deserve that kind of torture. yeesh.

So anyway, we continue on our way and it begins to bucket rain. Big, fat, splats of water worthy of rain forest weather were hitting my windshield. So I did what I usually do and rolled down the window about two inches, turned on the wipers, and stuck my hand out so the wiper would hit my hand and bounce back instead of getting stuck on the side like it usually does. My friend starts laughing hysterically. In retrospect, this seems far less odd than it did at the time. I would probably laugh at someone if I saw them casually flicking their wiper back into rhythm at every swipe. The whole trip reaffirmed once again that my life is just not boring.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes!

So my world has (from the moment I was born, I'm sure) been this big ball of uncertain evolutions. This particular season has many interesting turns of events. My hours are cut at work again, we may or may not be housing a fifth child on weekends for awhile, the "Refuge" has closed for the summer, Seattle and teaching children's music is back on, the van is dying a slow painful death, Levi has officially moved downstairs and, to top it all off, Levi is enrolled in school for the fall. Whew! I can barely keep up, I am sure you guys are reading it twice making sure you don't miss anything important.

In the meantime, I am still finding my moments of sanity in the wee hours when I arrive home from work. Hence this early A.M. post. Can't say this is where I pictured myself at 26, but I am certainly far from bored!

Besides, that cliche about kootenay weather applies to my life too. You know, if you don't like it, wait 5 minutes, it'll change!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

PIctures of park camping and Alex's new ride.




Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tent city

It was cold. And loud. And uncomfortable. And did I mention cold? In fact it was the first morning in several weeks that folks here woke up to their vehicles being covered in frost. I climbed into our tent around 11:15 P.M. next to my son, tucked him in a little tighter and tried to get warm and fall asleep. Who would have thought night life in little 'ol Cranny could be so full of ruckus.

All this was to raise awareness that Cranbrook has an actual, for real, honest to goodness, homeless problem. Especially now, as housing costs rise and minimum wage doesn't, people are finding themselves on friends couches. Those that are lucky enough to have friends with that kind of generosity anyway. So, a tent city in the central park was proposed. I didn't count the tents, but I was impressed with the turnout. I was also impressed with the variety of people from all social classes. Even a few of the homeless themselves joined us. In fact, one particularly friendly gentlemen woke us at a rather ungodly hour to remind us that by now we would have had to take down and hide our tents, were this really our lot in life. In fact we slept in a good half hour more than the men who stay at The Refuge get to.

As a humorous aside, my Mother seems to have a strange reaction to the combination of cold and lack of sleep. At some point during the night, I am not sure when, since I was at least partly asleep, she leans over to me giggling. Between quiet bouts of laughter she says, "so we were playing Taboo..." and then breaks out into what can now be described as uncontrollable laughter. At this point, I am thinking, "well that was a weird thing to suddenly blurt out." A few seconds later she manages to say, "Ferdy points at me and says, "what you are (more hysterical laughter here) except wrapped in cotton."" At this point I am now unable to quell my own laughter, because Mom can't even speak. Not only that, but I am picturing my Mother wrapped in cotton batting doing this weird trying-to-escape wiggle that she was doing in her jacket earlier in the evening. Well the word turned out to be mummy, which I would have gotten if it weren't for the late hour and my Mother's odd behaviour distracting me. It occurs to me now that this may not be quite as funny to someone reading my blog as it was to us but it still makes me giggle.

Anyway, pictures to come soon.....

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

bummer

It doesn't look like I will make it to Seattle this July after all. Our music teacher, finding her life too hectic, has decided to scale down her lessons so she can spend more time with her family. A decision that would normally elicit my admiration, has instead aroused my selfish disappointment. Ah, such is life...

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Just enjoying the process

Last night the Fiona came and interviewed the kids. It was hysterical, I laughed so hard it hurt. I had to be in the other room where the kids couldn't see me, but she said I could listen so I did. All three of the kids who could talk pegged Hannah as the person who laughs the most in our family and Selah as the one who cries the most. Levi said he could handle another girl in our family, but he hopes he can go play somewhere else more then. Hannah talked about absolutely everything she could think of even if no questions were asked. Shiloh somehow managed to answer every question with something to do with princesses and complained that Levi wouldn't play princesses even when they really needed a prince.

So that's it. The last of our home study. In a few weeks, Fiona will bring us her overview and we will go over it and make sure it is a good representation of our family. This process has been difficult at times; peeling back the layers can be uncomfortable as anyone knows. It has also definitely had it's benefits. We have learned some things about ourselves and our kids and asked questions we wouldn't otherwise have asked. Overall, no matter the outcome, I am really glad we have gone through this process. I appreciate being able to look back six months and see personal growth as well as relational growth in our family. It gives me a sense of moving forward even if it doesn't immediately take us anywhere.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Feaster

Easter, being very busy for us every year, and us, being cheap, means we don't do the Easter bunny thing. Instead we stock up when everything goes %50 off and we do the Marriott family FEASTER the weekend after. Goodies and games and all around merriment are themes of the day and I have set out the goodies and am gearing up for a morning of fun. Holidays totally made-up and original are cooler than the trendy, everybody-does-it, days anyway. :P

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Out on the trail

Today we actually had a lazy Saturday. We did not leave the house until just before noon. We did not clean or cook. When we left the house, we spent most of our time away playing with the kids in the sunshine. After a jaunt at the park, I dropped the kids and Alex off at home and went to a friends house for a trail ride on a friendly horse named Flicka. She was rather lazy and so would fall behind and every so often she would run to catch up. This was very disconcerting at first until I got to know Flicka a bit and learned that she really will stop when I tell her to. It was a gorgeous day, and although my bottom is a bit tender, I ended up enjoying going a bit a faster. I can't wait to find time to do it again!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Receiving acts of kindness

Being grossly sick this week has slowed me down to a snails pace. My usual pace has been quite impossible to maintain. Discouraging for one so used to being busy, having things to do, places to go, people to meet. Anyone who has known me throughout my pregnancies knows I loath the words, "take it easy." Yet for five days now I have found myself mostly housebound, and actually, enjoying some of it.

There have been offers to cook for me, people coming over to keep me company, and Alex's boss giving him unprecedented time off with a, "take as long as you need." I am getting bored, and would love to have my energy back, but being forced to acknowledge what incredible friends and family I have, has made the slowing down somewhat worth it. So, my body may be tired and sick and frustrated, but my soul is well-nourished and ready for another round of Marriott Mom-ness. Thanks everyone!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

At ease or somthing like it.

I have been "resting" for 4 days now, after a bout with pnemonia last weekend. I have taken sick days at the group home, pulleed myself out of music lessons for the week, aquired a fill-in maintainance person for the shelter, and asked Jamie to get her Mom to take the kids for the weekend.

I really did try to take it easy, but by yesterday afternoon I was going batty so I vacuumed the whole house and today I did about 11 loads of laundry and unpacked some more of the garage. I am sorry. I don't do "taking it easy" very well. I have learned, through this experience, never to spend money on a tropical vacation. I wouldn't last two days poolside before I went loopy. How does a person (as described to me by dear friends who vacation often) just sit on a beach day after day.

It's not that I don't stop to smell the roses, I do. It's just that, if I am stopping to smell them, why not weed them while I'm at it? Maybe even trim a few to take home. Far more satisfying, in my opinion.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Spring approaches..

February, in my opinion, is the Wednesday of the year. It's the hump. Every year, February sees me just pluggin' away hoping for sunshine. So when I woke up one morning and suddenly it was March, I wasn't sure what happened to the previous month. Although, I really can't say I am sad to have missed it. Besides March is beginning with such fun....

Last week Miss Andrea passed me the reigns to teach a music class (with her close by my side of course.) She had an injured hand and called me up the night before to ask if I could wing it. It was fun and excruciating at the same time. It was like the first time you drive a car. You know how everything works, you covered that on the learner's test, but you keep waiting for something to explode because you've hit the wrong peddle or something. But nothing exploded and it was fun!

Then last night as I was suffering from a fever and chills and coughing up my spleen, my husband did the sweetest thing! First I must give you some background. While on our trip to Nelson, we bought this little booklet called 52 weeks of romance. It's a little book of nice things to do for each other. It's not that we need spicing up, it's that we are way too overworked right now to be very original and this is our way of preventing the need for spicing. So anyway, this week was Alex's week. After dealing with an ill wife and the 7 children running around here lately, he popped over to the store. Within a half hour of his return, he had scrubbed out the tub,filled it for a eucalyptus bath and brought me a bowl of fresh raspberries! It does not remotely matter that it wasn't an original idea, his timing was perfect and he turned a horribly painful, hacking, medicated day into all kinds of warm fuzzies. I said it before and I'll say it again, I think I'll keep him.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Seattle

In July I will be heading to Seattle with Miss Andrea, my children's music teacher, to get trained as Musikgarten teacher!! I will be teaching babies and toddlers music lessons in the fall! I can't wait. When Andrea was telling me about the workshops, she was saying how intensive they are. She then asked if I would be OK doing a full week because of how tired I will be at the end of each day. My response was to ask her these questions.

Will I be able to use the washroom and shower uninterrupted?
Will I get into vehicle and only have to worry about doing up my own buckle?
Will I get a designated lunch break where I will sit down and eat at the same time and no one will eat off my plate but me?
Will I be able to concentrate on one thing at a time without getting asked 4 questions at once?
Will I get up in the morning and just dress myself?

Since Andrea answered yes to all of these through her laughter, I think I will manage six days of intense workshops just fine thank you very much.

P.S. for any interested people who might want to pop down from the coast, I will be out of most workshops around three and have my evenings free. This really sounds more like a poorly disguised holiday than training......

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Roadtrip!!!

Roadtrip!

We head out today at noon for a night to ourselves in Nelson. We have a room in the historic Blaylock mansion and we are going to have a nice dinner out and go shopping!! (Thank goodness for Tax returns!)

In other news, we attended KCF's second round of leadership olympics last night. This is the second year it came down to the team I was on and the team Alex was on and this is the second year my team soundly kicked his team's tooshies. :)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Eureka!

Shiloh comes out of her room this morning with sunglasses on and exclaims, "Look Mom! My rock and roll is better! I can sing it again!"

What a relief.....

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Kid Konversations

Shiloh: I can't rock and roll anymore.
Mom: Why not?
Shiloh: I don't know what's wrong I just can't sing rock....
Mom: Is it broken?
Shiloh: Yea....can you help me fix it?

Hannah: I am going to be a piano player when I grow up.
Mom: I thought you were going to be a rock star with a guitar.
Hannah: Oh, that's just on Mondays and Wednesdays now. On the weekend I am going to play piano.
Mom: What if someone calls and asks you to play the piano on a Wednesday?
Hannah: (thoughtfully) I guess I will have to cancel the rock and roll that day....

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Taking a moment to enjoy the view

This morning has been the first time I have been able to just sit down in a week. Obviously understanding my tuckered-outness, Mother Nature has graced me with a beautiful morning. Out my kitchen window I can see Fisherpeak. Beautiful on any day, today it looks particularly mysterious and pretty with a shroud of translucent fog softening it's sharpest edges. As if this wasn't a compelling enough backdrop to my morning cuppa, there is a couple of deer hanging out in the front yard taking in the sights with me as the cars wizz by. To top it all off, my children are actually quiet! To think, even I can a achieve a moment of peace!!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

On the Horizon

I am ridiculously tired, sore, and in need of a vacation. I feel like the moment I finish any task there is a bigger one looming before me. I am working far more than 40 hours a week, homeschooling four kids, and still volunteering time for our church. I should really be having a nervous breakdown by now, shouldn't I?

Yet, I have this feeling of anticipation in my toes that keeps me moving. Every day the build-up of things to do get easier to manage. There isn't less to do, I am just getting better at juggling. I can't and won't keep this pace for long, but I don't think I'll have to. Like shadows in a fog, the next opportunities are beginning to take shape. The excitment of watching them become more clearly defined makes the insanity of the pace I am keeping, not only bearable, but exciting!

To quote Suess, "And when things start to happen, don't worry, don't stew.
Just go right along. You"ll start happening too!"

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is my Mother's birthday and the only time I have seen her is when she came to help get the girls out of the pool after swimming lessons because Alex stayed home with the sick Sir Levi. Not the celebration I would give her, had she or I the time to spend.

This year Mom and I bonded with a trip back east to see her family and celebrate her parent's 60th wedding anniversary. It was a fabulous trip! I can only speak for myself, but I think it allowed a new dimention of adult relationship to bud between us. (As adult as hummingbird impersonations can be anyway)

My sister has posted a fabulous picture of Mom on her blog, please do go look if you haven't seen it yet. As for myself, however, I am refraining from posting pictures because the only one that would satisfy is the only one Mom made me promise never to post. (But if you see her, ask her about hummingbirds) Happy Birthday!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Good morning Handsome

As I was sitting on the couch taking a breather from the hurried morning exodus, this handsome man walks over to me with a warm and inviting look on his face. Then I sneezed.

Rather that say bless you and offer me his hand to get up, he stops dead in his tracks and says,
"I was going to kiss you but now that you have sneeze fresh in your mouth, I'll wait..."

And this is what it looks like to be married 8 years....

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Dainty is as dainty does...or something






We celebrated Hannah's birthday today in true pink Hannah style. Teeny teacups, itty bitty scones, mini cupcakes and pink plastered everywhere! The girls started their party by decorating straw hats. Good practice for becoming red-hatted ladies in some distant future. Once adorned with their pretty bonnets, the girls sat down for tea, high society style, complete with handsome servants. Hannah is all pajama'd up now, and still beaming!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Today





Today is Hannah's 7th birthday! Seven! Where did the time go? Like fine cheese, my sweet girl has aged well. She began life as the least quiet of our bunch, always uncomfortable as a baby. She tested the title of Mother for me. Helpless is the feeling that comes when you know your baby is sick and no one can tell you why outside of labeling her colicky. There were moments in her first year that I thought she would go through life believing I couldn't help her with anything.

However, when her discomfort subsided along with her tears she became one of the most affectionate little girls I have ever known. She worshiped her big brother and climbed on him endlessly. She loved her daddy and would take any chance she got to curl up next to him. And, as my belly grew with the fullness that was to become Shiloh, Hannah was intrigued. When Shiloh finally arrived, she was thrilled!

Now, Hannah is a young lady. Confident and charming, intelligent and pretty. When she is asked to do a chore or help a sibling, her usual response is, "Of course, Mama!" That is not to say she is without any sort of impishness. When left to their devices, she and her big brother are capable of all sorts mischievous acts around the house. She is his faithful student as he teaches her to play chess and her maturity shines through with her good sportsmanship.

Happy birthday sweetheart!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Wake up World

It is 1:30 a.m. and all the living room lights are out on my block. Most people sleep at this "unholy" hour, but not I. No, I have just come in from the cold, and though I am very tired, the cold jolts me wide awake on my way home from work. This is so not what I signed up for.......

The bright side? The moon is very pretty and Cranbrook is still just small enough to see a few stars. How many people actually look at the stars. I mean, really, look at them. I think I may pick up a book on constellations and brush up on my astronomy. That will make coming home at 1:30 in the morning worth it, won't it?

At least there is coffee for the real morning. I am, of course, talking about that time of day when normal people get up, get dressed, and go start their cars. The time of the day when you don't consider picking up books about the stars for the sole purpose of not going insane. It's a good time of day I will never take for granted again. 'Cause, even if you are blurry-eyed, there is usually someone suffering alongside you. Misery loves company and all that. Perhaps I should mount a fog horn to the front of my house and wake the neighborhood when I get home from work so I won't be lonely. That could be fun the first few times........

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Just wondering...

So I am bumbling around from site to site, checking emails and reading up on the goings on of various blogger-buddies, and suddenly something occurs to me. One of my sisters, who shall remain nameless, has not yet a blog of her own. Why not? I ask myself. She reads ours and finds time to comment. She has a Facebook profile. She even has a puppy and is newly married; good blogger fodder. Is she afraid of the competition? The commitment? Has it simply not occurred to her? I, for one, am signing the petition! If she can learn to knit, she can learn to blog! Come to the dark side!

No pressure of course. Just wondering.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Kiddies Crafting











"Here are some pictures of the munchkins diving into some of their creative gifts. Notice the lack of paint smocks. I had cleaned out their closets over the holidays and got rid off all the clothes they don't use anymore. I forgot to save "play clothes" for life's dirtier moments. So I turned the heat up a bit and they used the wipeable smocks nature gave them. It took a few washings to get Selah clean after her "oonoosare 'aintin" (for those less fluent in Selah speak that is dinosaur painting).

Saturday, January 05, 2008

*WARNING* snarky post ahead. optimists beware.

Let me paint you a picture of my morning. It's before six a.m. and I have been up since before three. Alex just left for Calgary with his boss and in about three hours I have start getting the kids ready for swimming lessons. I have little or no desire whatsoever to actually consider doing anything remotely productive in the next twenty-four hours.

So here I am bumbling around on the Internet because I can't sleep and neither can I stare at the ceiling any longer. Suddenly this page comes up with an oh-so-inspiring message. It says, "Dream like you'll live forever. Live like you'll die tomorrow." The thing is, this message is spray-painted on a crumbling wall in an alley somewhere. Thank-you teenage kid with the spray can. I just couldn't go through another day without your ageless wisdom.

I'm sorry, am I being a downer? It's just that the message is awesome in theory but sometimes the daily grind is the daily grind. Period. If I knew I was going to die tomorrow, I would not being doing the things I need to do today. Sometimes you just gotta grin and bear it. Sometimes you just don't get to have the warm fuzzies about your day. Besides, those peppy, always happy people are annoying. You know they are. Don't deny it.

Today, I will enjoy my children's swimming lessons. I will get to the end of today with a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment. But, today, I do not the time or the energy to "live like I'll die tomorrow."